It’s all about family
And lots of it. Although we were hosting for Joe’s side of the family, because my parents live locally and I have siblings nearby, Thanksgiving was a coming together of both sides. Joe and I are very blessed in that not only do we have wonderful parents and siblings, but our families know each other and get along. I love, for example, that my brother-in-law went fishing with my father and that my sister-in-law was helping my sister bargain shop for a Nespresso machine.
Taking it outside
From the moment we started planning, I knew that we would be dining outside under a canopy of red, yellow, and orange leaves – the bounty of family and food nestled within the bounty of nature.
|Twenty-two around the table.|
With family arriving from Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Thanksgiving was a weekend affair. And we kept everyone busy . . .
Wednesday night: the Novajosky Soup Kitchen (soup, salad, fruit salad) officially opened for anyone who rolled into town at any time.
Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner
|Give Thanks (printed from Pinterest)|
|Place settings (harvest leaves also found on Pinterest)|
|The buffet line.|
|Cousins waiting for the dinner bell.|
|My sister made the most decorative pumpkin pie.|
|We could not have asked for more perfect weather.|
Thursday night: S’mores, wine, conversation, and laughter around the fire pit.
|There is something magical about gathering around a fire.|
Friday: Picnic at Hamilton Branch State Park with fishing, boat rides from Nonno, cornhole, and golf. Golf?!? Why yes, golf. With an island just offshore, Joe brought clubs and a box of 150+ old golf balls and challenged everyone to hit “closest to the pin” (a marker in the middle of the island). I can’t say for sure, but a LOT of balls landed in the lake.
1. too far away 2. a little closer 3. perfect distance
|Will and Matt heading out with Nonno for a boat ride.|
|Closest to the pin.|
|Hamilton Branch State Park|
(for the picnic, our number grew to 27 when my brother's family joined us)
Friday night: the girls attended The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
|My sister-in-law saying hello to James Brown before heading to the |
The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
Saturday: visiting Aiken
|Aiken was bursting with fall colors.|
Football and Shopping
From the moment we parked in downtown Aiken, there was a problem. What to do with all the guys while the gals explored the stores along Laurens Street? THE SOLUTION: park them in the upstairs sports bar of the Aiken Brewing Company. With a gazillion televisions broadcasting every football game known to man, and fortified with a hearty lunch, the guys were perfectly content to stay right where they were and the gals were free to explore and shop.
|Aiken Brewing Company for Papa and the guys.|
By Saturday evening everyone had gone. Our driveway, which had looked like a car lot for three days, was empty. When Joe, the boys and I came home from Mass, we sat around the fireplace and shared memories from the weekend. It was all so very good.
|And then there was one ...|
|I'm not going to lie. Sunday I was tired and stayed in my pj's all day, |
but it was a good tired. A contented tired. A grateful tired.
And I would do it all again.